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As computer systems become more sophisticated they must be able to communicate their results successfully to their users. Natural language generation is the area of research concerned with developing methods that will allow a computer system to respond to its user in human language. In this paper, the need for natural language generation is first motivated by showing how it is used in several applications. Given that language generation is necessary for such systems, the paper also focuses on the issues that must be taken into account in developing a system that can generate language. Finally, techniques that have been used in two question-answering systems, the TEXT system  and TAILOR , are discussed.